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Most Recent (Last update: 1600 02/25/01)

Happy Monday. ...especially if you are living in the US and have it off for the holiday. Unlike me... Oh, I live in the US all right, but it's just another day at the office. A rainy day at the office... Sheesh, the kids are out of school and home with Shelley. ...on a rainy holiday. Inside. Oh, my. I almost missed that. Hey, it's a wonderful day to be at the office. Heck, I may even work late. Gosh, I hope the boss doesn't let us out early... Nope; he has two urchins at home also. Also, as in: stuck at home with Mom on a rainy day. ...after they've been home all weekend. Hmmmm...

After some trash talk about how life is after Deja.com, I think this guy says it rather well: Give them a little time and things may be even better than before. .tter than before. ...or get a Wiki and store stuff locally. Me? Heck yes, I've already ordered it! My brain likes Bo's site. My library looks like a 3-D Wiki. ...and that pack rat bunch of neurons between my ears indexes like a Wiki. We're talking ducks and water here, folks. ...unless I lose the book in the mess once it gets here <g>.

Ah well, off into the rain...


Later than normal... But I was playing the ''parts is parts'' game last night. ...with the usual results. Hah! That HDD will mount really cool right there and that lets me put the Zip drive over there and...

...and that won't work. Cable length. Okay, move the HDD here and the... Okay...

...and that's how I ended up with my first machine without a floppy disk drive. It's going to be a Linux workstation; it's networked; the motherboard is remarkably modern (for me)... So, I guess I really don't need a floppy. I think.

Next item. Keep stuffing to see what fits and what doesn't. Oh. The clamp for the last memory stick won't operate because it's against the power cable for the HDD. Remount. K'. Hey, there's a fan mount in the faceplate. Hmmm, where's that fan I had? Wow. A snap fit. Okay, now the slot dance. Thate. That ATI Rage card that wouldn't work on Shelley's rebuild... A sound card from who knows where... A nice 10/100 NIC... Hmmm, switch the wireless NIC into this box? Nah, that Freesco thing is looking better and better after reading the manual... And that means that P-90 Shelley's dad sent my way is going to keep going for yet another round...

...and so life went. ...on into the waning hours of Monday. But I am learning: I didn't even try to smoke test it. That'll have to wait for another night. ...or maybe two: I don't have a place to put the machine. It came from a shelf and it's going to a desk. Where? (That sound you hear is Shelley laughing!) Yep, it's box and dumpster time. Whenever... In the words of Grand Guru Syroid: ''...I want computers to empower my life again.''

..and not the other way around.


What a deal! What a great way to start the afternoon. Thanks for the early call, Brian.

Speaking of Brian, I think he was ready to ask me to check my medication when he realized I hadn't smoke tested tested that box Monday night! Yeah, I know. ...but I also knew I had a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning and I needed my body in an un-natural state: rested. Kinda'.

...and we all know that after the smoke test comes the 'well, we'll just have to see if it'll take an OS'.

...and that's what's happening as I write. ...and I stuck myself in a loop: I don't like to run a system overnight when it's new (I usually burn in on weekends). ...and I forgot that Mandrake would want to format the 18g drive. ...and I don't want to shut it down while it's formating. I think... I may have to modify a policy<g>.

Or be not so rested...


Hmmmm... I'm very glad I didn't try that smoke test Monday; Tuesday didn't turn out quite as planned. The smoke test went well enough, but Mandrake's HDD formatting was taking forever... Not good.

Not good at all as it turned out. After another test or two, I hit it last night with Maxtor's PowerMax utility. Those tests went well enough and I decided to just low-level format the blasted thing and start over. Oh my, ''Please contact support with the following error code...''

Out came that drive, another went in, a in, and the world was fine. ...except for the minor detail that it was a new day. Okay, shut down and call Maxtor in the morning for a replacement.

...and get some sleep.


Well, "Hello" again from the Linux world... Once again coming to you from gFTP/Bluefish/Mandrake/Tux^2, we have your Friday morning update.

The 18 gig is on its way back to Maxtor; once they heard the error code, the only further questions were about the serial number and such. ...and this box is running well enough to post from. I still have some tweaking to do, but that's to be expected. I'll burn it in over the next few days, then close it up and forget about the hardware side for a while.

On the 'remains to be done' list, I have the sound card, the Palm Pilot linkage (although, Brian's toy is giving me hives...), testing out the burner (the CDROM worked for the install; and the ZIP worked tonight with some downloads I brought home from work...), and maybe the Samba partridge... All in all, not too bad a deal

...and the kicker here is that this system is pretty much an as is deal: I put a bunch of parts in a box and threw a CD in the cupholder. Presto-pocus. ...and downloaded one item from the net across the home network. ...and stuck another download in the ZIP drive. In other words, just about what I'd have done with a Windows box. ...only in less time. ...and I'm posting from it.

Now to find that WordPerfect CD...


Ha! The geek household... Guess who was posting last night from the laptop? ...in Netscape under Mandrake? ...and hitting the NetWidows from Konqueror? ...and emailing with Kmail. ...and didn't know (and didn't much care)? Aunt Minnie she's not; but that was not a difficult transition for either of us... Wow; interesting times indeed...

...and I humbly place my name in nomination for this week's Bob Thompson Not Quite Certifiable Award (also known as the You Can't Arrest Me For That Classic):

Since I was cleaning anyway... I picked up my can of air and was about to start in on the keyboard when I started thinking about the economy of scale... Okay, out to the garage for an item or two. I put the box fan in the window to use as an exhaust fan. Then I stretched out that fifty feet of air line and fired up the compressor! Yepper; that had a much better effect than that twelve ounce can of compressed air. Whooeee. Tall about a good way to dust a room! Everything got a good going over; I just herded dust bunnies toward the window and let them make their way to their new home...

Next up: how to use a die grinder as a Dremel tool...


Measure twice; cut once...

I bit myself on the tail today. Hard! But it really didn't feel too bad. ...not after I kicked myself once or twice. ...and does anyone need a spare parallel port card?

Okay, an explanation: last month Shelley told me her printer was out. Sheesh. It's that Lexmark I liked so much. The one with a significant fraction of California's GNP (pre-power problems) invested in cartridges... Okay, testing 1, 2, 3... No go. A-B out the printer cord. No go. It keeps saying ''paper out''. Shoot. Maybe the board's shot. Warranty? Yeah, it's still in...

Wait. A-B out the printer! Yeah, where's that old Canon 250? Found it. Still no go... Wait! That's good! I'd rather change out a motherboard than RMA and pack up a printer...

Okay, I'll plan ahead and pick up a parallel card and just disable the on-board. You with me so far? That was a week or so ago. Today is fix-it day. So I open up the case to put the card in. Oh man, I'm going to have to do the slot shuffle. ...and that will likely goof up some PCI IRQ PDA PDQ WT? something and I'll be futzing with this thing all afternoon. Grouse, grumble, mumble, gripe, whine, moan, look, look again, see the cable... The nice cable from the printer port. The one that supposed to be plugged into the motherboard... Oh, good, flippin' grief. Can I even believe this one? Not even.

Plug it in; power up; and once again, that nice Mr. Thompson and I are related...

Oh wait! It gets better: On the Palm IIIe I keep near me when I work on this stuff. ...under my notes when I rebuilt Shelley's machine: ''Reseat printer cable; removed to change out memory..."

I'm off to blade for a while. I think I need the exercise.

Hey, the boys had some fun yesterday: pictures here; the story here.

C-ya later...

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